Business more often than not is more than just a simple exchange of goods or services for fair compensation. It is the art of selling yourself, and convincing someone to choose you and your product over others. Now, that can be a tall order if you don’t know how to be perceived as reliable, professional, and authentic.
There are certain types of business documents you need to nail when it comes to legitimacy and authenticity, especially when you are trying to get a business to buy your product or be interested in your service.
A well-drafted business proposal makes all the difference when you’re trying to pitch your business to another business in a B2B environment. Although that might not always be the case, a direct consumer is more likely to be acquired through marketing strategies rather than formal direct proposals.
It is supposed to be a convenient way for your prospective customer to understand what your business does, what unique things you bring to the table, why you are reliable, and what perks they get if they give you business.
Three Types of Business Proposals
Depending on whom you are approaching, factors like your reputation and clout, your prospect’s rapport with you, and your assumption of how well doing business with you fit for the prospect, your approach to drafting a business proposal will vary. Here are the 3 types of proposals you need to know.
1. Formally Solicited: This type of proposal is a response to formal queries for your services. This is made by a business that is looking to acquire your services or goods and approach you first. In such a case, you have the upper hand, since your customer is warmed up to buying into your business. You just have to piece together all your information in one document for your prospective buyer to evaluate the potential deal.
2. Informally Solicited: This is kind of like a formally solicited request, but instead of there being an official request for proposal, this is based on a loose, face to face interaction where the prospect asks for a proposal.
In such a case, you need to conduct more thorough research about a potential client to draft a proposal to their liking. Official requests come with a lot of information and whatnot. That is what is different about a formally and informally solicited proposal.
3. Unsolicited: This proposal is very different from solicited business proposals. Unsolicited proposals are equivalent to a business brochure where you highlight the key aspects of your services regardless of who you are talking to. This kind of proposal focuses more on what you offer and less on what your potential client needs.
This kind of proposal is good for cold emails that you send out in bulk to other businesses in your niche that’d make good clientele. A little extensive market research can make even this type of approach fruitful.
Why do you need a Business Proposal?
B2B business models and their buyer to seller dynamics are complex and can be sometimes tiresome to explain. A business proposal aims to take care of that aspect in an engaging interactive manner, where your potential client is made to feel confident about doing business with you.
By un-complicating the potential deal for them, you are telling them that being in business with you is going to be less of a headache and more fruitful for all parties involved.
It is also your first impression on a potential client, which means a document and how meticulously it is crafted, can be the difference between you impressing a new client and getting their business, or you never hearing from them again.
Contents of a Business Proposal
A professionally drafted business proposal will have the following information.
• What your company does and who you are
• Your client’s problem that you have a solution to
• The solution that you offer with more details
• Effectiveness of this solution when acquired from you
• Estimate what resources and how much will be spent on providing you the solution
Format of a Business Proposal
1. Title: Basic stuff, but here are some points to be duly considered.
• Yours and the company’s name
• Prospect business’ name
• Date of submission
2. Table of Contents: This is a must to include in the very first section at the start of your proposal. This allows your prospect to navigate through the proposal with ease. If it’s a digital copy, hyperlink the entire contents table so that the person reading has a convenient time finding the information they want to focus on most.
3. Executive Summary: This section includes the particulars of your business. You use this section to show off current and projected numbers of your business to coax in a buyer. Here are some pointers to help you out.
• Introduction to the company
• Overview of the company’s goals
• A showcase of milestones, plans, and projected numbers
• Other relevant details that would interest the buyer
4. Problem Statement: In this section, you show your prospect that you’ve extensively researched their business and are eager to have them onboard your clientele. You need to outline exactly the problem they must be facing. This is where you start pitching a deal.
5. Proposed Solution: This is the part that should be the most interesting to your buyer. If you don’t have a very comprehensive answer to your buyer’s problem, this section can be merged with the problem statement.
6. Qualifications: You must provide why your company or you should be taken seriously by your buyer. They need something to accept legitimacy.
7. Projected Timeline: This is another thing that you need to sell efficiently to your buyer. They need to be sure that their problems will be solved by your service in a good timeframe.
8. Pricing, Billing, and Legal: This is the part that your buyer will be most interested in. They might even skip to this section right away. It should be a well planned out section where you completely justify the value of your quote.
A well-drafted business proposal can be the difference between making your business successful or not. Take these tips with a grain of salt and always be open to improvise.
However, some of this information and how you present it needs to have the perfect balance of a tone of professionalism and a creative way for you to pitch your business.